Is Your Senior’s Home Safe for Aging in Place?
Many seniors value their independence and choose to age in place for as long as possible before shifting to assisted living or a nursing home. As long as there are no major health and safety concerns, this isn’t usually an issue. If there are areas where they need additional support, an in-home caregiver can help bridge these gaps.
But it is important to periodically check your aging parent’s home to ensure there are no significant risks and to put safety precautions in place. Slip and fall incidents are one of the leading causes of emergency room visits for seniors. There are some simple ways you can help reduce risk, such as installing handrails and grab bars, securing rugs and thresholds, and providing slip-resistant surfaces.
Here are a few areas to evaluate to keep your senior safe as they age in place:
Trip and Fall Hazards: Are there cords running across the floor or chair coverings with extra material at the bottom? Is the rug starting to curl or linoleum coming up? Are there piles of clutter? Address any issues that may make navigating more difficult, especially if your loved one uses a cane or walker or shuffles their feet.
Fire Safety: Make sure that not only are there smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor and in multiple rooms, but that they are in proper working order and have fresh batteries. It is a good idea to have one or two fire extinguishers as well. Keep matches or lighters in a secure place.
Water Safety: Turn down the hot water temperature to 120° Fahrenheit to reduce risk of scalding. Seniors are often less sensitive to hot and cold and may inadvertently let water get too hot. Also make sure that there are grab bars and slip-resistant rugs in place in the bathroom to decrease fall risks while bathing.
HVAC Maintenance: Schedule someone to come out in the spring and fall to service the heat and air conditioning units and ensure they are working properly and do not pose any safety risks. You may want to have someone check the fireplace as well.
Lighting: Install night lights in common areas such as hallways, stairwells, and bathrooms in case your senior gets up at night. Consider adding motion-sensor lights that will turn on automatically so they don’t have to fumble with switches or knobs.
Schedule a Home Inspection: You can also have a professional come out and inspect your loved one’s home to identify any areas of concern and safety hazards. They will look at all of the areas that could pose a threat to seniors’ safety as they age in place and recommend preventive maintenance and repairs.
Be Alert: As you are visiting with your loved one, take note of things that may pose a risk to them. This doesn’t have to be physical dangers per se. Maybe you notice their refrigerator is empty or has spoiled food, that they’re wearing dirty clothing, or they are becoming more confused or forgetful. These can also be indicators that they need more support while aging in place or may want to consider assisted living. Work with an in-home care provider such as Always Best Care to help better meet their needs and ensure they are safe and comfortable while remaining in their own home.
In-home care can be a wonderful option for allowing your aging parent to age in place while providing the support they need for basic tasks such as light cleaning, organization, meal preparation, getting in or out of bed, or attending community events. Contact Always Best Care at (855) 470-2273 to schedule a free care consultation and find out how in-home care can enhance your loved one’s safety and well-being as they age in place.